Dwyane Wade may have left Miami for one season on the Chicago Bulls and what amounted to the same two-year salary he turned down from the Heat last summer, but he’s not ruling out a reunion.
After his Bulls buyout, the 35-year-old future Hall of Famer opted for a veteran minimum deal from the Cleveland Cavaliers over some more lucrative offers from the Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs, but he still plans to retire in Miami once his ring-chasing days are done.
“Miami, the door’s always unlocked,” Wade told the Associated Press. “One day I want to retire in a Miami Heat jersey. I don’t know how that will happen, but I definitely want to make sure that when I decide to hang it up, that jersey is on. Whether it’s being back there or signing a one-day deal like Paul Pierce, I want to make sure that I go out the way I came in.”
Once thought to be a Heat lifer, Wade and Miami had an unceremonious breakup last summer, when Pat Riley initially lowballed the 12-time All-Star with a $10 million offer annually before increasing that deal to two years and $40 million, reportedly without ever directly contacting his franchise player.
Wade ultimately signed a two-year, $47 million deal with his hometown Bulls. He picked up his $24 million player option for this season in June, only to watch Chicago trade Jimmy Butler and let Rajon Rondo walk in free agency. The Bulls were bound to be among the NBA’s worst, with or without Wade.
After a lengthy negotiation, Wade reportedly relinquished roughly a third of his salary for this season in a buyout deal. He subsequently signed with the Cavs for $2.3 million, reuniting with LeBron James.
DWade & LeBron after their first practice together in CLE…
(via mrdwyanewade/Snapchat) pic.twitter.com/PKNwaTaHld
— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 28, 2017
In the end, Wade will earn $41.3 million for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons — just a hair more than he would have made to remain with the Heat. He had a chance to re-sign with Miami over the weekend, but like his title chances in Cleveland. Besides, “I didn’t feel they needed me there,” Wade told the AP of Miami. “I feel that those guys are in a good place. They deserve to come back this year and see what that 30-11 was about. They don’t need me there over their shoulder or anything like that.”
For their part, the Heat hold no ill will over the breakup, either. “There will always be a key under the mat,” Riley told reporters after Wade left last summer. “I just hope it doesn’t get rusty, that’s all.”
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